Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Runners Up, Volume 1

I've already hinted at our proposed "Best of" year end special which we've all been mulling over for almost two weeks and will continue to piece together until we post the results at the beginning of 2006 (read: next week). In the meantime, I figured I could review the lastest The Goon (excellent as usual) or contemplating whether I should even bother reading the text in Justice since I'm only picking it up for the art anyway, but instead I'll focus on some of the books that didn't make the cut for my final awards. Since we're going to be awarding gold, silver, and bronze medals, think of these as the the... um... I don't know... copper and nickel winners.

BEST ONGOING TITLE: CONAN
This book also would get consideration for Best Interior Art, though let me say I think Cary Nord gets a disproportionate amount of the credit for this book. The real star here is Dave Stewart. Regardless of the penciller, Conan always has a consistant look and that look is fabulously rich and textured.

On a side note, such seems to be the lot in life of Daves Stewart (please note the gramatically correct pluralization of Dave Stewart). Dave Stewart was the real musical architect of the Eurythmics, yet Annie Lennox got all the credit. Pitcher Dave Stewart never lost a game in any League Championship Series, yet guys like Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Joe Carter, Robbie Alomar, even Paul Molitor are thought of as the driving forces on those teams. Hell, the day he pitched a no-hitter, Fernando Valenzuela did the same thing! Poor Daves Stewart.

As a child of the 80's, I always associated Conan with the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. In turn, I always associated being a fan of Conan with my best-friend-in-fourth-grade Danny's father, who was the type of guy who hung Frank Frazetta posters of chainmail bikini-clad women in the dining room, wore bandanas and denim jackets with the sleeves cut off, and kept five months worth of water-damaged, biker babe-themed porn mags strewn about the floor of the bathroom.

In my late-teens and mid-20's, I actually started to hear people I actually respected speaking of Robert E. Howard's Conan books as worthy of my time. Still, the old prejudices held me in their grip and I had too many other books I'd bought because I "had to read" them to go picking up The Bloody Crown of Conan. Thus, when Conan #0 came out, it seemed the perfect solution. Finally, I could read adaptations of the classic tales in short, bite-sized nuggets.

Last year, Conan was in my top-3, but slips out this year because the latest issues seem to slip away from battlefields, swords hacking off limbs, and Conan whoring around and into convoluted magic and tedious monologues. What I'm saying is, the year started strong packed with scenes like this:but recently it's been a lot more of this:Regardless of my criticism, Conan remains one of my favorite titles and while Yag-Kosha (the elephant guy in the above frame) may have been a little heavy on the blabitty-blah-blah, I suppose if I'd been locked in a tower without anyone to talk to for years, I'd probably be difficult to shut up as well. At least the lead-in involved Conan fighting lions and a giant spider, evading guards, and scaling towers. This book is so good, I keep hoping Dark Horse will take on adaptations of some other pulp classics, specifically Tarzan.

Wow, if I liked Conan this much, just imagine what my top three books must be like...

2 Comments:

Blogger Grotesqueticle said...

Conan cemented my love of comics back in the 70s. The intital BWS run was fantastic. A lot of the Buscema stuff up to issue #100 or so was gold. And Neal Adams drew a couple of issues somewhere in the #50s (if I recall correctly). It was easily my favorite book at the time.

1:14 PM  
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